Monday, December 2, 2013

Mile 127.4 to Mile 142.8: Siletz Bay to Beverly Beach State Park

Cumulative mileage figures in parentheses refer to mileage in this section only.

There are some small rivers and creeks that can be crossed only by wading at low tide. Then there are bay mouths, such as the mouth of the Siletz, that can only be crossed at high tide. That’s because Siletz Bay is so shallow, there are no boats anywhere on it except for a couple of hours either side of high tide.

From the end of the beach at Lincoln City, you have two options:

Hail a recreational crabber or fisherman in the bay (this fellow at right, for example) to get a quick trip across the bay mouth to the end of Salishan Spit. Again, your timing needs to be right; this can only happen within a couple of hours of high tide. There is no marina on Siletz Bay, so no one to prearrange a ride with. From the tip of Salishan Spit, walk the beach until it ends at Fishing Rock (5.8 miles).
 Alternately, if the tide is low or you are otherwise unable or unwilling to hitch a ride, just follow the edge of the bay inland 0.6 mile to U.S. 101, by the gazebo at Siletz Bay Park. Following the highway south, across Schooner Creek, then Drift Creek, then the Siletz River to the traffic light at Salishan Spa and Golf Resort (mile 3.8). The resort’s nature trail heads west 0.5 mile between the bay and the golf course to the beach, but it’s private resort property, so continue along the highway another 0.8 mile head west 0.25 mile at the sign to Gleneden Beach State Recreation Site, where there are toilets and water. Follow the beach south 2.1 miles south to Fishing Rock. (Highway shoulder route adds about 1.2 miles to the distance between the end of the beach at Siletz Bay and Gleneden Beach).

There are scramble trails leading up onto Fishing Rock; follow one out to the parking area (portable potty in the summertime, last time I checked) and walk east on Fishing Rock Street to the highway. Cross it and drop down into Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area (toilets/water); follow park roads and trails south across Fogarty Creek and back up to the highway.

Cross the highway and pick up the OCT heading south parallel to the highway. This new section was completed in 2013; it takes OCT hikers off a particularly dangerous stretch of highway. I haven’t hiked it yet myself; I believe it extends about 0.9 mile to Boiler Bay State Scenic Viewpoint, though it may continue further, to the edge of the town of Depoe Bay. There are toilets and water at the Whale Watch Center on the Depoe Bay seawall (8.3 miles).

As I understand it, this newly constructed OCT stretch picks up again at the south end of Depoe Bay (exactly where, I’m not sure) and runs through the woods in the right-of-way on the west side of the highway, I believe all the way to where Otter Crest Loop Road meets the highway (2.3 miles from the Whale Watch Center). Pick up Otter Crest Loop (which has little traffic and great views) and follow it south 3 miles to the sign to Devils Punchbowl. at First Street. Walk west on First Street 0.4 mile to the top of the stairs at Devil’s Punchbowl and follow them down the southern cliff face to the beach. Walk the beach about 1.4 miles to Spencer Creek; here, follow footsteps under the highway and into Beverly Beach State Park (15.4 miles).

Beverly Beach is a large and busy state park with a nice hiker-biker camp tucked into the forested hillside above the creekside camping loops.

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